House panel to discuss Jan Vishwas Bill with ministries
The committee formed to review the draft legislation has called representatives of the electronics and IT ministry, department of agriculture and farmers welfare, and department of food and public distribution for meetings this week.
The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022, which aims to reduce the compliance burden for both people and businesses, will see wide-ranging deliberations as a joint committee of Parliament on the draft legislation is set to meet officials of a number of ministries.
The committee formed to review the draft legislation has called representatives of the electronics and IT ministry, department of agriculture and farmers welfare, and department of food and public distribution for meetings this week. In another meeting scheduled this week, the panel will meet officials of the environment, and housing and urban affairs ministries.
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The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in the winter session, amends 42 laws to reduce the compliance burden on individuals and businesses to ensure ease of doing business. “Some Acts that are amended by the Bill include: the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, and the Information Technology Act, 2000,” according to a report by PRS Legislative Research, an independent non-profit.
The committee might suggest including a few more provisions in the draft to make it more effective, a member of the panel said, seeking anonymity.
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One of the key features of the Bill is to decriminalize certain offences. “For example, under the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937, counterfeiting grade designation marks is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to five thousand rupees. The Bill replaces this with a penalty of eight lakh rupees,” said the PRS analysis.
Similarly, “Grade designation mark indicates the quality of an article under the 1937 Act. Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, disclosing personal information in breach of a lawful contract is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of up to five lakh rupees, or both. The Bill replaces this with a penalty of up to 25 lakh rupees,” the PRS report said.
Ease of doing business has remained a key theme of the central government, which has initiated several steps in that direction. “In the 2024 election, ease of doing business will also be a key plank of the ruling establishment to woo the business community and the individuals,” another parliamentarian said, declining to be named. “This bill is vital to removing the burden of compliances.”
The scope of the draft legislation was not limited to the 42 provisions, “but more such steps can be taken”, a third MP said.